Some Like It Hot

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January 29, 2008

My recent visit to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where it seemed there was as much snow falling as movies playing, inspired the title for this blog post, but it also reminded me of my insistent and growing love of hot food and drinks … snow has a way of doing that.

It used to be that I’d drink hot tea and make soups only during the “cold” months. (Of course, that season goes by pretty quick in Los Angeles.) One day—although I’m not sure when that was—I just kept making them.

I felt like a Rebel Without a Cause, but in actuality, I had a cause—to have a meal that would not only nourish my insides, but also warm them up.

It’s hard to say whether it was nostalgia at work or a regular craving for warm comfort food, but regardless of the cause, the effect was that whenever the temperature dipped below 75 degrees, I’d be planning my next soup du jour.

Over the years, smooth soups have come to be a favorite, maybe just because I love to watch it all being puréed with my magic wand, but I still make and enjoy a variety of soups with chunks and all kind of goodies in it.

Some of my favorite soups are potato-leek, especially when the leeks are sautéed in butter and then doused in white wine before being added to the potatoes; carrot-chile-cilantro, can’t go wrong with cilantro; pumpkin-and-coconut, for those cold winter nights when you need something indulgent; and Roasted Red Pepper, which happens to be one of the top rated recipes on our Web site.

As with any addiction, I must keep myself supplied, and hopefully not spend too much time doing it—because that would cut into my slurping time. Subsequently, I end up finding a lot of my recipes on the Internet. There are many great sites for vegetarian recipes out there, and I personally find the ones with rating systems and comments to be the most helpful in weeding through all the recipes.

Perhaps the original inspiration for my hot, liquid obsession was kindled by my first soup cookbook: Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. This cookbook is a wealth of great soup recipes, not to mention quaint hand-drawn pictures. It contains two of my favorite soup recipes: Cauliflower, Cheese & Tomato Soup and Spicy Carrot Peanut Soup. The cookbook also has salad recipes, and a few wonderful breads.

All this talk about cooking and movies makes me want to curl up with a bowl of soup and go watch Like Water for Chocolate. Mmm mmm … good.

—Gabrielle Harradine, editorial assistant